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Powerbook G3 (bronze keyboard) power up issue

Posted on 2006-04-15
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Thanks for helping! I got a 1999 Mac Powerbook G3 with bronze keyboard (model number 5343). This machine supposedly stopped working (powering up) after a power surge during a lightning storm... Then this laptop was sitting powerless for about 2 years now. I got a powersupply for it now and charged the battery. Went to start the laptop up, i get startup chime, little green powerlight blinks, HD starts spinning and nothing. Screen black, nothing happens. Reseting the computer didn't help (tried pressing that little button in the back) also tried key combination, still nothing. Do you think i need a new PMU board or the battery? The previous owner told me he thought the logic board was "fried", but why then the chime sound comes on when i try powering it up?! Any help is very much appreciated. Thank you!!!
-=G=-
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Question by:Gvigorus
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16463061
Try the laptop with an external monitor connected first.
There is a possibility the laptop is fine but the screen is dead or the backlight is out.

PCBONEZ
.
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 16463436
Did you try the Comand-Option-P-R key combo and wait for at least 2 "plongs"?
Othherwise as suggested by PCBONEZ.
Also, get e new "CMOS" battery (or whatever Macish goes for the small internal battery for RTC and startup logic).
/RID
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16465135
I tried pressing keys Comand-Option-P-R at start up to reset the PRAM, i don't get the second chime when i hold the combination for about 10 seconds. Do you think i should invest in a new CMOS battery like this one for sale on ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/B-3044-CMOS-Battery-For-Apple-PowerBook-G3-bronze-keyb_W0QQitemZ6870182031QQcategoryZ11169QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Can i test my current battery with a voltmeter to make sure it's dead? Also, would not the AC adapter recharge the CMOS battery? I had the AC adapter plugged into the laptop all night long, think that would recharge whatever batteries are low...
Also, i hears that there's a PMU board inside the laptop that sometimes goes dead. They are also available for sale on ebay. Do you think that could be dead as well? Are there any ways to test?
Will let you know when i test the second monitor with this laptop. Thanks a bunch!!!
-=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16465164
I got my CMOS battery out and tested it with a voltmeter, i had a solid 6.45 volts. I guess it's not the CMOS battery. Can you guys think of what would go bad on this laptop in a power surge?
Thanks again! -=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16465264
By the way, i didn't know what PowerBook G3 exactly i had, but i think i know now, it's a Lombard here's a site that discusses taking it apart. My laptop looks identical to that one with the keyboard removed:
http://homepage.mac.com/sysop/PhotoAlbum5.html
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Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16465290
The battery voltage sounds good. It was worth checking but even with a bad CMOS battery there should be something on the screen.

Anytime you aren't sure if the screen works that's the thing to check first.
You get the start up chime which tells be it's geting far enough there should be at least -something- on the screen.
We need to know what that is before making other assessments because for all we know the system is working fine or it's an error message telling us exactly what the problem is..

Most parts for that should be available for that. If no where else then at least on eBay. They made a lot of them and it's old enough there should be lots of parts in the channels.
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 16465292
This is the PMU board that i think maybe damaged. Check out the link and look at the board that's help by screws number 1 and 2.
http://homepage.mac.com/sysop/.Pictures/take-apart-lombard/lombard_takeapart_28.jpg
Do you know if this board is responsible for backlight of the monitor?
-=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16465304
Thanks PCBONEZ. I'll test the lappy with an external monitor next and will let you know what i get. Sorry, i was jumping ahead of myself with the whole PMU board deal. Thanks a lot!
-=G=-
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Accepted Solution

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rid earned 500 total points
ID: 16465545
Not getting more than one "plong" is a bit disturbing... There may be multiple problems here. First step is as suggested an external monitor; next might be to check that the KB cable is properly seated. Removing the optical drive (and possibly the HD) might also be part of the troubleshooting process, trying to reset the PRAM (four-finger key combo) between operations.

BTW, No, the "CMOS" or PRAM batteries don't get a charge, as far as I know; they're like watch batteries - primary Li-ion cells. I've seen exceptions only in oldish 486 mobos that used NiCd cells.
/RID
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16465934
Rid,
That's may be true in desktops but not so in laptops. At least not always.
Most of mine have had Rechargeable Lithium batteries.
Case-in-point:
The B-3044 battery used in the laptop in THIS question is a Rechargeable 6 volt Lithium battery.
.
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16466143
Okay, tried powering up with an external monitor. Still nothing. Get the chime at first, HD starts to spin and nothing else happens. Should i try powering up with keyboard removed or with CDROM removed? What do you guys think about the PMU board that i mentioned before? Is it responsible for monitor LCD backlight?
-=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16466159
Also, thought i'd tell you that when i turn the computer on and the chime sound goes off, the HD starts to spin. After that if i want to power the laptop off (make HD stop spinning) pressing and holding the Power button does not work, HD still spins. I have to push the little reset button in the back to shut the machine down. When i press the little reset button, the little green light blinks once and then the laptop turns off. Does that sound like something at all?!
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16466163
Do you guys think it's the logic (mother) board? That's what the previous owner thought it was, he said i would probably have to get a new logic board for this laptop... But he didn't really have a clue what was wrong with this laptop.
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Assisted Solution

by:PCBONEZ
PCBONEZ earned 500 total points
ID: 16466409
With lightening damage anything (or everything) could go.
It's impossible to say..
If the object is to get a laptop to use I'd recommend just finding another one.
If this is more of a 'cause I wanna do it' project then this is a good one.
... I'm saying that it might cost much more to fix it than to replace it.

I'm not an "Apple Guy" so I had to go read up on what a PMU is.
Yes that definitly could be it as it's main power distribution,
-- and yes the backlight is powered from it.

It also appears there is some sort of a reset on it.
I'm not sure if it's the same reset you refered to.

-- There is a specific procedure:
PowerBook G3 Series (Bronze Keyboard) (M5343)
If the computer is on, turn it off.
Press and release the reset button on the rear of the computer.
The reset button is located between the external video and modem (RJ-11) ports.
Wait 5 seconds.
Press the Power button to restart the PowerBook computer.
Note: When you reset the Power Manager, wait at least 5 seconds before pressing the Power button to start up the computer. If you do not wait at least 5 seconds, the reset procedure may fail. (If you suspect that the reset procedure has failed, press and release the reset button again and wait 5 seconds before pressing the Power button.)

More on the PMU here:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449
.
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16466427
Thanks PCBONEZ. I have read that particular page before. Yes you are right, i want to try to fix this computer just because i want to and also because i thought it might be something cheap, like a new PMU board isn't all that expensive on Ebay, like $35 If a new PMU board fixes my issue, that beats buying a new laptop. Otherwise you are right, if parts for the laptop run into hundreds then it does not make sense to restore it. I think my next step probably will be replacing the PMU board since that's what responsible for the overall power distribution. I'll get a PMU board off of the Ebay and plug it in when it comes, then will let you know what happens. If that does not help my case, i'll just probably scrap the restoration project and get a new lappy. Actually even the logic boards for this laptop aren't that pricy either. I may even try getting a cheap but working logic board to try it out, with a new PMU card. As long as the total repair cost is under $150 i'm happy, when it goes above that, the project will be scrapped.
Thanks for all the input! Really want to see this Lombard work again!
-=G=-
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Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16466490
I'm actually very interested in the out come because I just bought my first MAC to learn about them.
(And to verify some web programs I'm working on work on a MAC at the user end.)
I got an old G3 iMAC. It's purple. I named it "Mister Grape".
.
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16466674
Ha ha, say Hi to Mr. Grape! I'm too very interested in the outcome. I just don't want to scrap what looks like a rebuildable machine. I got the laptop disassembled and stoved away until i buy a new PMU from Ebay. I'll let you know what happens, it's be sometime in the end of the next week. Thanks for all of the input!
-=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16471698
On the other hand, i was just looking at some other parts available for my lombard and i came accross this item:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=9703506017&fromMakeTrack=true
This is an inverter board for the LCD monitor. Perhaps this is why my monitor is blank, maybe the inverter is shorted out... The inverter is responsible for transfering power to LCD's backlight. If this board goes out, LCD will not work. Just wanted to make a note of this here, just in case...
I have not ordered anything yet. I am going to grab a Torx-8 screw driver at the store today and open up the laptop's case to take a look at the PMU board. I suppose if it's fried, i should be able to visually notice something... maybe not... but anyways, these are the two things i'm looking to replace currently: PMU board and if that does not fix my issue, get a new inverter for the LCD.
-=G=-
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Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16472036
The inverter is powered from the PMU.
From a power surge, the PMU would take a hit first.
The PMU is a power requlation circuit. Ideally it would go and first and save anything connected to it.

A backlight circuit:
Power in (from PMU) >> Inverter (steps the voltage up to 900-1300 Volts DC) >> CCL (lamp tube(s)).

If the inverter was damaged the PMU probably was too.
But the PMU could be damaged without the inverter being affected.

Think of a PMU as you think of the PSU in a desktop PC.
It takes some voltage in and converts it to the voltages the system needs.
.
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16528902
My part is still in the mail at this time. Will let you know when i get it and try it out. -=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16567509
Got the new PMU, plugged it in, still the same problem. When i press the power button, the power light flashes once, then chime sounds comes on, HD starts spinning, clicks a couple of times and continues spinning. Nothing happens if i press and hold the power button. To shut the powerbook off, i have to press the reset button in the back. Then the little green power light comes on and machine powers down.
I think should look into getting a new mother board. Do you think this could be the processor as well? Mother boards go for $35 and up... i think at this point it's still worth trying to fix it. I really want to get it to work, just for the heck of it...
-=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16567516
Just bought a new logic board for $37 Will install it and see what happens. Will let you guys know how it turns out. -=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16567560
Oh, the mother board is for a 333 mhz board. I guess i have to have some kind of decoder to play dvds with it. My other board was a 400mhz that supported dvd. Any chance you guys know what this dvd decoder deal is going to be? Is it a program i have to install or is it a piece of hardware? Thanks. -=G=-
   .~.
  / v \
/ (   ) \
^^--^^
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Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16570161
I dunno the answer to this one. Just want you to know I'm still following this.
You might try searching for [powerbook G3 decoder] on eBay.
You can look at what turns up and figure out if it's a seperate part.
.
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16570184
I asked the seller of the 333mhz logic board about this. He said i need a PCMCIA card that will ebable me to watch DVDs with this mother board. That kind of sucks, because i was going to use a Wifi PCMCIA card on this machine, but $37 for a logic board still beats the price. 400mhz go for lot more then this. I should get the logic board sometime mid next week, will install it and let you know what happens! -=G=-
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Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16570810
Well, you probably won't be watching a DVD and needing WIFI at the same time especially in a 333 MHz machine.
Just swap PCMCIA cards as needed.

There are also USB based WIFI options if the system has USB.
.
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16571150
Yep, that's going to be true. I don't know though. I bourhg this 333mhz logic board to mostly test the laptop to see if that's what was wrong with it. It this 333 logic board makes the laptop work, i may go ahead and get a 400 logic board and sell this one. 400Mhz board go for over $50, i saw them on ebay going to $57 plus shipping. This board was really cheap. So, if this 333 logic baord makes the laptop work, i'll close this question as answered, since then i will have known that i needed a new mobo for the Lombard. Thanks for sticking with this question, i know it's dagging on and on, but i think it's going to be interesting to find out what's wrong with this laptop. Plus, in the future some folks might find this question helpful as well. -=G=-
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16617878
I'm still waiting for the logic board to be shipped to me, it's in transition. I'll post results as soon as i get the board and install it. Just wanted to make sure no one thinks this question has been abandoned. Thanks!!!
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16619879
Mother board came in this evening. Installed it. The laptop powered up and works now. I only wish i hadn't been cheap and bought a 400Mhz motherboard. I think i am going to go ahead and by a faster motherboard and sell this one. So, i am going to close this question and award the points to myself! No, just kidding...
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16619885
I can't decide who helped more PCBONES or RID or i'm going to 50/50 the point. Thank you guys for all of your help!!!
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 16620163
Thanks for the points. Not sure I deserved them, but unless PCBONEZ feels a mistake has been made I'll accept them happily. Hope the laptop will keep working well.
/RID
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16620170
~ COOL ~
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16620283
Here it is!!! http://www.geocities.com/sergekuzin/lombardg3os9.jpg What a beauty!
Anyways, i didn't realize how old OS 9.2 was these days. There's hardly anything for it. It's like $150 to upgrade to OS version X but i don't know if it's even worth it with 400 Mhz processor. I do have 256 Mb of RAM though...
Hope i didn't offend anyone with my decision to split the points 50 50. This was more of my own experiment. You guys deserved the points because you gave me something that guided me to the rest of the issue... Thanks a lot.
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 16620455
On this machine you could run the PPC version of ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org). It runs nicely on my PowerBook G3 and it would give you a modern, stable O/S.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:Gvigorus
ID: 16620872
I thought about running Linux on this machine. I already have an HP Pavilion ze4210 running FC4. I wanted a Mac, but it seems like there's hardly any support for OS 9.2 Maybe my best is to load Linux on this lappy. I don't want to upgrade to OS X  since i don't think it makes sense with this hardware. Ubuntu is nice. How about Gentoo or Debian?!?!?! I wanted to check Debian out, sounds very supported... -=G=-
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by:rid
ID: 16621225
Ubuntu is related to Debian, AFAIK. I haven't tried Gentoo, but Ubuntu is very easy and straightforward to install and set up and seems to handle the hardware well.
/RID
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